PhenomeMOMs and the True Story Behind Mymommyvents-Part 3

phenomenal-mothers October’s PhenomeMOMs have been such an inspiration!  From triumphs over the NICU, to dealing with loss, turning pain into purpose, and finding the humor in it all, these extraordinary moms have shown us all what it means to be phenomenal in motherhood. I was motivated by the PhenomeMOMs  and convinced by last week’s PhenomeMOM Valerie to share my own story. I’m thankful to everyone who has encouraged me to continue sharing my story. If you missed it, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

[line]

I remember being carried into my parents bedroom. I remember calling out to people and thanking them for being so annoying when I was pregnant because it helped me to focus during labor. I remember thanking people for praying for me. I remember repeating “I get it,” over and over. I remember telling the EMT’s to check my blood sugar, and I remember it all going black again.

I woke up in the back of an ambulance, my mother weeping as they rushed me to the hospital. I couldn’t understand how I had gotten there. I thought I was dreaming.

The hospital checked my vital signs, but couldn’t find anything wrong with me. I assured them that I was fine. Although I knew who I was, and where I was, I couldn’t figure out why I was there. As the doctor questioned me, I started to untwist my shoulder length dreadlocks. By the end of the day, they would be gone.

The hospital agreed to release me, as I seemed perfectly fine. When my husband arrived at home, he found me laughing on Facebook. Things were off, but no one knew how to approach the topic. We dealt with it through laughter.The next few days would be rough, but things slowly began to return to normal. I began seeing a therapist my friend recommended to explore the reason behind my breakdown.

The therapist explained that my body was in shock, my mind was tired, and my system crumbled under all of the stress. I had suffered an episode of postpartum psychosis,which occurs in approximately 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries. Symptoms of postpartum psychosis include:

  • Delusions or strange beliefs
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
  • Feeling very irritated
  • Hyperactivity
  • Decreased need for or inability to sleep
  • Paranoia and suspiciousness
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Difficulty communicating at times

I felt crazy. If anyone found out, they’d think I was crazy, too. People would whisper and gossip. They’d think that I wanted to hurt my baby. They’d say I was weak and couldn’t handle motherhood, or worse, they’d take my son away from me. I was so afraid.

Over sessions, we discussed my fears. At the root of it all, I was angry and depressed. I’d been suppressing my feelings, wearing a mask of happiness and perfection while the truth simmered just below the surface–but now, I was fighting back.

I stayed home with my baby and continued therapy for the rest of the year. I tried to go to new mom groups, but depression and fear of being judged by other moms held me back from social settings. As the year went on, I began to open up. I started addressing problems head on instead of squelching my anger. I began to rely  more fully on my faith, and I began to live again.

Soon after The DJ’s first birthday, I found out I was pregnant again. I worried about another episode. This time, I spoke up. I told my husband that I would need him now more than ever. I asked him to help me. Unashamed,  I told him how scared I was. He calmed my fears and assured me that this time, we’d make it through together.

After a month of bed rest because of early contractions, The Emcee made his debut a day and a half after I returned to work. I actually felt the contractions this time. Thankfully, everything went well. There were no NICU visits, no complications, and no postpartum depression and no postpartum psychosis. I felt like I had finally gotten a handle on life.

I decided to start Mymommyvents in 2014, because I didn’t want another mother to have to feel the pain I felt. According to medscape.com, 85% of women experience some type of mood disturbance postpartum. If the events that I host or the posts on this website help just one mother, then my episode wasn’t in vain.

For more information on postpartum depression and psychosis, please visit the following websites:

Postpartum Support International

Postpartum Progress

There are so many mothers who will never share their story, but I hope mine has touched you in some way.

 

Tiffani
Find me here

Tiffani

Tiffani is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, co-creator of The Mommy Conference, and co-founder of the digital collective Sisterhued. Her writing and parenting tips have been seen on The Washington Post, Mommy Noire, Yahoo Parenting, and Fit Pregnancy.
Tiffani
Find me here

Latest posts by Tiffani (see all)

9 Comments

  1. October 31, 2014 / 5:20 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I can see why you would feel the way you did about sharing it. I did know know the number was so high. This piece can and will help a mom who may be going through what you did. She’ll know that she is not alone and that she should not feel ashamed to share her story with other women. =D

    • tiffani
      October 31, 2014 / 6:25 pm

      Thanks for encouraging me to share it.

  2. October 31, 2014 / 5:55 pm

    How wonderful that you decided to share this. So many will be delivered. I suffered with acute anxiety and clinical depression the entire nine months of my pregnancy with my son and two months after delivery. It was the hardest thing in life… But God!

    I am unashamed and tell my story whenever God prompts me as people need healing, compassion and total deliverance.

    Applauding,

    Yulunda

    • tiffani
      October 31, 2014 / 6:43 pm

      Thanks for reading, Yulunda. Going through things gives us a powerful testimony later.

  3. MJ
    October 31, 2014 / 7:32 pm

    Tiffani, I wish I could give you a big huh right now. Your story is powerful. So many moms especially in our communities and culture deal with this in silence. I’m glad all is well with you and your family. Thanks for sharing your story

  4. November 2, 2014 / 1:16 am

    Well I am SO glad Valerie made you write this post! Thank You for sharing, when I see you again expect a big hug. No words, just a hug! So many women, especially African American women don’t tell the truth about any mental challenge we face in this new role as Mom but I’m glad you worked through and are happy and healthy now.

    • tiffani
      November 2, 2014 / 4:23 pm

      Thanks for reading, Candace. There are a few events coming up that I hope to see you at.

  5. Jocelyn
    November 7, 2014 / 2:48 am

    So proud of you Tiff, for your courage and all that you are doing with MyMommyVents. Nothing is ever in vain esp when your experience can help others and yourself to live for yet another special purpose.

  6. August 2, 2015 / 4:27 am

    This is deep Tiff, so brave for you to share your story. Thank you. I was blog post like this that helped me get through postpartum depression so I know this will help more mommies out there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge